Aspects of Gratitude

Most of us will take time off this week, on Thursday, to join friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Somewhere amid the fraternity, food, and football we will take the time to express gratitude and thankfulness for the circumstances we enjoy.

EFA - Plymouth Rock

It should not be a generic, prescripted, perfunctory expression of gratitude;  it should not be an afterthought;  it should not be an obligatory gesture;  it should not be a sense of personal pride and sense of accomplishment.  It should be much more.

It would be helpful, instead, to focus on the aspects of our gratitude, on the elements to consider regarding the thankfulness we should have.

“The Desolate Wilderness” was written 395 years ago, as a journal recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, its first governor;  “And the Fair Land” was written in 1961, by Vermont C. Royster;  they have been published together, in the Wall Street Journal, every year since 1961.

EFA - Pilgrims WSJ

Faith, and a Sense of Eternity:  “they knew they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted their eyes to Heaven . . . and therein quieted their spirits.”

An Appreciation for Fellowship:  [the night before departing] “was spent with little sleep . . . but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse and other real expressions of true Christian love.”

A willingness to Venture, with a sense of Courage, Resolve, Determination, and Perseverance:  In the face of “a sea of troubles before them . . . no friends to welcome them, no inns . . . no homes, or much less towns, to repair unto . . . [the onset of] winter . . . what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men . . . behind them . . . a mighty ocean . . . a bar or gulf to separate them from all civil parts of the world.”

A Reminder of Providence, and the Richness of this Land and its People:  “But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth . . . but in the men that took its measure . . . remind ourselves that for all our social discord, we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves . . . and we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out . . . had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.”

We have much for which to be thankful and grateful.